philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology

18Feb/18Off

HOW AUGMENTED REALITY IS SHAPING THE FUTURE OF PLAY

Merge-Goggles-Hero-hi-res Merge_Cube_wht_backgroundNow, Snyder acts as an AR ambassador to his friend group. Sometimes, when friends come over, they see Snyder's Merge AR/VR goggles, which he leaves on the dresser in his bedroom. He’ll slide in his phone, show them how it works, and let them take it for a spin. “Their eyes pop,” he says. “They always ask me, ‘Where can you buy this?’”

Jackie Marsh, a researcher at the University of Sheffield who studies digital literacy in children, says AR experiences can be beneficial for kids, especially when the apps help kids learn something or indulge in their own fantasy play. But research also warns that these types of games, toys, and apps can fail to engage kids meaningfully, or worse, mess with a child's sense of “reality testing”—understanding what's real, and what's not. It all depends on how the AR experience is designed.

See the full story here: https://www.wired.com/story/ar-toys-the-future-of-play/

18Feb/18Off

Experience the men’s cross-country 15km in virtual reality

See the full story here: http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/experience-mens-cross-country-15k-virtual-reality

Full VR programming schedule

Date Coverage Time (ET)
Fri., Feb. 9 Opening Ceremony 8 p.m.*
Alpine Skiing (Men’s Downhill – Training) 9 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 10 Alpine Skiing (Men’s Downhill) 9 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 11 Curling (Mixed Doubles Semifinal) 7:05 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 12 Curling (Mixed Doubles Semifinal) 6:05 a.m.
Snowboard Halfpipe (Women’s Final) 8 p.m.
Snowboard Halfpipe (Men’s Qualifying) 11 p.m.
Tues., Feb. 13 Snowboard Halfpipe (Men’s Final) 8:30 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 14 Figure Skating (Pairs’ Free) 8:30 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 15 Skeleton (Men’s Final) 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 16 Skeleton (Women’s Runs) 6:20 a.m.
Figure Skating (Men’s Free) 8 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 17 Short Track (Men’s and Women’s) 5 a.m.
Alpine Skiing (Men’s Giant Slalom) 8:15 p.m.
Alpine Skiing (Men’s Giant Slalom) 11:45 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 18 -- --
Mon., Feb. 19 Ski Jumping (Men’s LH Team) 7:30 a.m.
Figure Skating (Ice Dance) 8 p.m.
Tues., Feb. 20 Alpine Skiing (Women’s Downhill) 9 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 21 Ice Hockey (Women’s Gold Medal Final) 11:10 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 22 Big Air (Women’s Final) 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 23 Big Air (Men’s Final) 8 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 24 Ice Hockey (Men’s Gold Medal Final) 11:10 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 25 Closing Ceremony 8 p.m.*

*Indicates same-day delay

18Feb/18Off

Dreamscape ‘Alien Zoo’ takes you on a virtual journey through an extraterrestrial world

The alien invasion is finally here, thanks to a new virtual reality (VR) experience at the Westfield Century City mall in California. The VR startup Dreamscape Immersive has created a location-based VR exhibit that lets fans interact with a range of bizarre alien life forms during the journey.

Intrepid explorers don VR headsets, headphones, a backpack, and reflectors on their hands and feet for the 12-minute experience. It’s a new kind of “location-based” VR with full-body tracking that the company hopes to replicate across the country.

Groups of six people, accompanied by a virtual avatar, explore the movielike world and interact with otherworldly creatures, and not all of them are friendly. The cinematic presentation even includes a musical score by Hans Zimmer.

AMC plans to open up six more Dreamscape locations, and Nickelodeon is looking to produce a Dreamscape experience based on its properties

See the full story here: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/dreamscape-immersive-alien-zoo-vr-experience/

18Feb/18Off

Augmented reality set to revolutionize cultural tours in the US

Major historic sites in the US are set to enter the virtual world for the first time ever with thanks to new augmented reality (AR) tours using smart glasses. Places like George Washington’s Mount Vernon and James Monroe’s Highland are now to be kitted out with the latest storytelling AR software from ARtGlass.

They’re collaborating with Epson, a provider of the Moverio® AR smart eyewear platform to deliver these virtual realities to visitors.

See the full story here: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/2018/02/18/augmented-reality-cultural-tours-us/

18Feb/18Off

ROSALIE YU TURNS HER SWEET TOOTH INTO A VIRTUAL REALITY ART FORM

The project, titled A Ritual of Habits, is composed of two parts. First, what Yu calls “virtual theater,” which consisted of a VR experience in which the viewer is transplanted into a world of sweets, and an augmented reality experience in which the sweets. Second, it’s an installation of 3D-printed objects.

Yu says the project was inspired by the way she says eating sweets was habitually passed down through generations of her family. “At some point, I noticed how much sugar we ate compared to other households,” she told The Verge. “When we visited my grandfather in the hospital, my mother would open a big bag of treats and lay them on the table. An assortment of Twix, Snickers, those cloying sweet instant coffees, and a random assortment of cookies that she had collected during the week.” After her grandfather passed away, Yu noticed the same sweets were being served at his funeral, and she decided to start documenting how she interacted with sugar.

The process of creating the VR experience was lengthy. After taking 20–50 close-up photos of a pastry, Yu would transfer photos into the desktop photogrammetry app Agisoft PhotoScan to generate a 3D model of the food. Then she used the digital sculpting tool ZBrush to make repairs after a scan and to apply texture. After the 3D models were finished, Yu used ARKit and Unity to build the AR and VR experiences.

See the full story here: https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/17/16990752/rosalie-yu-virtual-reality-art-ritual-of-habits-sweets

18Feb/18Off

Hands On Review: Knockout League VR Boxing Is The Best Virtual Reality Fist Fight You Can Have

https---blogs-images.forbes.com-zarastone-files-2018-02-KOL_Banner_1-1200x675.jpg?width=960The VR Health Institute estimates that playing Knockout League burns 8-10 calories a minute. At some point, this calorie counting mechanism will get more sophisticated — adding in the option for gender selection, for example, as men and women tend to burn calories at different rates due to muscle mass.

See the full story here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/zarastone/2018/02/16/hands-on-review-knockout-league-vr-boxing-is-the-best-virtual-reality-fist-fight-you-can-have/#3219b7f46eeb

16Feb/18Off

The DeanBeat: High Fidelity takes us dancing in a virtual reality club

ready-player-one hifi-4Yes, I went dancing in the dance club in VR, and talked to a bunch of people all at once. I even allowed strangers to touch my avatar in VR so that I could physically feel what it was like to have a sense of touch in the cyber world.

“‘We’re showing this for a little party today, and it’s just the beginning,” said Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity, in an interview, pointing at the room with a couple of dozen VR headsets and computers. “In a short while, we’ll bring in teachers and a class on a field trip here. We’ll start going on virtual trips with tour guides, so the teacher can take you through the pyramids in Egypt. They could send kids out to look in the environment for a hieroglyphic of a jackal and then come back. This is the start of social VR experiences. Games are fun, but it’s the social experiences that will bring people together and make a lasting impact.”

The experience felt real, as the movements of the real dancers were in sync with their virtual characters. High Fidelity made it possible by bringing down the latency, or interaction delays, to about a tenth of a second. The quick interaction, combined with the lights and the sound of music and voices, made the dancing experience more believable in VR, Rosedale said.

“You can test a lot of things in VR to see how they compare to real life,” said Jeremy Bailenson, a VR expert and communications professor at Stanford University, in an interview.

After I got out of it, Bailenson said that over time, you’ll be able to hire people who are experts at moving your body around, such as dance gyrations, and you can concentrate on things like talking to people. It will be one more aspect of a vast virtual economy, and it will be fun because it will be more intimate.

See the full story here: https://venturebeat.com/2018/02/16/the-deanbeat-high-fidelity-takes-us-dancing-in-a-virtual-reality-club/

16Feb/18Off

Purdue’s Microbots

Purdue’s “microscale magnetic tumbling robots,” or microTUMs, are extremely small, measuring about 400 by 800 microns—about the size of a grain of sand. Shaped like dumbbells, the tiny machines are outfitted with magnetic end caps, enabling them to “tumble” continuously over a variety of terrains, powered by a shifting magnetic field.

this Purdue study, led by graduate student Chenghao Bi and published in the journal Micromachines, proposes injecting these microTUMs into the human body.

Purdue engineers hope to use the bots as a targeted drug delivery vector, with biomedical payloads packed onto the central module and directed to a specific location within the body, allowing for more precise medical treatments.

See the full story here: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/wj4g5n/forget-boston-dynamics-robot-dogs-purdues-microbots-are-the-real-nightmare

16Feb/18Off

Scientists are failing to replicate AI studies.

placeholder_600.gifMissing code and data make it tough to compare AI work. That may hurt progress.
The problem: Science reports that of a sample of 400 papers from AI conferences in recent years, only 6 percent of presenters shared code. Just a third shared data.
Why it matters: Without access to that information it’s hard to reproduce a study’s findings, making it impossible to benchmark tools that could push the field forward.

At the AAAI meeting, Peter Henderson, a computer scientist at McGill University in Montreal, showed that the performance of AIs designed to learn by trial and error is highly sensitive not only to the exact code used, but also to the random numbers generated to kick off training, and to "hyperparameters"—settings that are not core to the algorithm but that affect how quickly it learns. He ran several of these "reinforcement learning" algorithms under different conditions and found wildly different results.

Henderson's experiment was conducted in a test bed for reinforcement learning algorithms called Gym, created by OpenAI, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, California. John Schulman, a computer scientist at OpenAI who helped create Gym, says that it helps standardize experiments.
How to solve it: There’s a clear culture of keeping such details under wraps. Some meetings and journals are now encouraging sharing. Perhaps more ought follow.

Psychology has dealt with its reproducibility crisis in part by creating a culture that favors replication, and AI is starting to do the same.

Yet AI researchers say the incentives are still not aligned with reproducibility. They don't have time to test algorithms under every condition, or the space in articles to document every hyperparameter they tried.

See the full story here: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/02/missing-data-hinder-replication-artificial-intelligence-studies

15Feb/18Off

DroneBase raises $12 million to bring augmented reality to aerial drone imagery

cad_model_aircraft-3Founded out of Santa Monica in 2014, DroneBase is one of a number of drone companies to raise venture capital cash in recent years, particularly since the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) passed new rules in 2016 allowing drones to be used commercially.

DroneBase works with businesses to provide them with drones that can capture aerial photos and videos for specific industrial work, be it analyzing construction sites or inspecting cell phone towers.

AirCraft is a beta service within the DroneBase pilot’s app that allows you to overlay virtual objects onto the landscape to build an obstacle course or help visualize how a new structure, for example, may look. While the current incarnation of AirCraft is aimed at the recreational market, the new Pro service will allow companies to upload 3D computer design models, images, and data at scale to showcase anything they want.

See the full story here: https://venturebeat.com/2018/02/15/dronebase-raises-12-million-to-bring-augmented-reality-to-aerial-drone-imagery/